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Romano-British and medieval settlement and field systems,leadmines and charcoal pit on Crossthwaite Common, south of Park End Quarry

A Scheduled Monument in Holwick, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6196 / 54°37'10"N

Longitude: -2.1222 / 2°7'20"W

OS Eastings: 392203.923545

OS Northings: 524949.326846

OS Grid: NY922249

Mapcode National: GBR FHM0.BS

Mapcode Global: WHB43.C4NV

Entry Name: Romano-British and medieval settlement and field systems,leadmines and charcoal pit on Crossthwaite Common, south of Park End Quarry

Scheduled Date: 11 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019456

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34354

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Holwick

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a complex area of Romano-British and medieval
settlement and field systems, medieval leadmines, and a charcoal pit on
Crossthwaite Common, south of Park End and Crossthwaite quarries.
An extensive early medieval field system with at least two associated
farmsteads extends between Buck Riggs and Carley Green, with field boundaries
extending north as far as a steep-sided ravine south of Crossthwaite Quarry.
The boundaries forming this field system are long, curving, rubble and earth
banks, often with a ditch on one side. Within the field system are a small
number of clearance cairns.
The more complex of the two farmsteads lies within the field system at Carley
Green. This consists of the remains of several subrectangular buildings
arranged round a yard or garth. The largest of these buildings is 21m long and
8m wide. Two smaller buildings lie within the garth and at the south edge of
the garth respectively. South of these is a second, more fragmentary garth,
with the remains of a small subrectangular building at its southeast corner.
East of this are two parallel banks representing the remains of another long
rectangular building.
West of this farmstead is a second farmstead consisting of the remains of a
rectangular house 14m by 7m, with an entrance in the east gable. Its south
wall overlies a long field boundary. To the north, 4.5m away, are the remains
of a much smaller building. This farmstead does not appear to have a garth.
About 100m further west, attached to the same long boundary are the remains of
another small rectangular building with rounded corners.
The medieval lead mines are south of Carley Green and south of the farmstead
and garth. The mines consist of small shafts, prospecting hushes, two small
extraction hushes, channels feeding the hushes, and an ore dressing floor. The
shafts are mostly in a line running south east-north west. Upcast from the
shafts contains calcite, indicating the presence of a mineral vein. Small
prospecting hushes cross the line of the vein, one of them becoming an
extraction hush as it does so. The hushes are fed by hush channels from
hillside springs. The ore dressing floor is an area of sparse vegetation with
small fragments of calcite and galena.
A medieval charcoal pit lies at the top of a sandstone scar at Buck Riggs on
Crossthwaite Common. It consists of a hollow 2m in diameter and 0.3m deep.
There is charcoal visible in nearby animal disturbance. The charcoal pit forms
part of a wider distribution of such pits across Crossthwaite Common and
Holwick Fell. They were used to make charcoal for the iron smelting industry
in the area. This charcoal pit is evidence for trees surviving in the medieval
period at heights of at least 420m above sea level.
The Romano-British settlement remains and field system lie north of the main
area of medieval fields and mines. A settlement with two to three hut
circles, about 6m in diameter, and two subrectangular buildings, lies within a
fragmentary rubble-banked field system on the west bank of Wash Beck, south of
Park End Quarry.
An additional much larger hut circle 14m in diameter lies on a knoll just
north of the water race, near a derelict sheepfold. This hut circle lies
within a field system formed by low sinuous rubble banks which do not have
adjacent ditches. Within this field system are a number of clearance cairns.
Stone from part of this field system has been robbed to construct a later
ditched boundary belonging to the medieval field system described above.
Track surfaces, modern walls and fences, and a sheep bield are excluded from
the monument, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non-
defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also
common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures
were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common.
Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the
settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two
houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form
and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known.
These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common,
although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography.
All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be
identified as nationally important.

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
evolved gradually during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Northern Pennines sub-Province of the Northern and
Western Province, an area characterised from the Middle Ages by dispersed
settlements, with some nucleations in more favoured areas. The sub-Provinnce
is formed by discontinuous high moorland landscapes; agricultural settlement
has been episodic, in response to the economic fortunes of adjacent
sub-Provinces. Other settlements have been associated with the extraction of
stone and other minerals.
In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the
landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an
area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or
principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence
instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across
the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection
with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or
road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region,
but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include
roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other
buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas
where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may
still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include
features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed mediaeval
settlement are found in both the South Eastern Province and the Northern and
Western Province of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland
areas. Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important
sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries
following the Norman Conquest.
During the medieval period mining was necessary to procur a wide range of raw
materials. These included coal, and the ores of lead, copper and iron. A
variety of techniques were used including opencuts, hushes, shafts, adits,
bell-pits and shaftline rakes. Medieval coalmines with complex stall and
pillar structures have sometimes been found during modern quarrying
operations. Surviving medieval mines are rare because they have tended to be
destroyed by later mining operations.
Medieval iron smelting sites known as bloomeries were often located close to
a source of wood for charcoal-making. The charcoal used in bloomeries was made
by burning wood with a limited supply of air. This was done by stacking the
wood either in a pit or on a platform, and by limiting the air suply by
covering the stack with earth and turf. Until about 1450 charcoal was made
in pits; around that time charcoal-making evolved into a largescale process
and charcoal was made in larger quantities, on platforms.
This complex area of multiperiod archaeology contains well-preserved remains
of Roman period native settlement including hut circles, field boundaries and
clearance cairns, early medieval settlement including farmsteads, field
systems, clearance cairns, medieval mines, and a charcoal pit. The Roman
period native settlement forms part of a wider prehistoric landscape in Upper
Teesdale. This includes evidence of Bronze Age settlement, burnt mounds,
cairns, Roman period native settlements and field systems.
The medieval settlements are part of a pattern of dispersed settlement in the
area. They survive reasonably well and appear early in date.
The mines and the charcoal pit form an important part of the
medieval industry in the area, and will make a significant contribution to
the study of this industry during this period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 87
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 92
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 88
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 155
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 86
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 1

Source: Historic England

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